Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Tuesday | October 29, 2002

Dem governors sweep could reshape national politics

Take a look at this excellent look at the practical effects of a Dem sweep of the nation's governor races.

Both major parties covet big-state governorships, for good reasons:
  • Governors have a huge impact on people's lives. Often their ideas percolate up to the national level and become models for the federal government. Republican governors have reshaped national education, welfare and tax policies over the past 15 years.

  • Governors have political networks, they are the top fundraisers in their states, and they dominate local news media markets. That has a practical effect on races from the state legislature to the White House. ''Having a governor adds 2 to 3 (percentage) points to a presidential nominee,'' says B.J. Thornberry, executive director of the Democratic Governors Association. GOP governors were key to President Bush (news - web sites)'s win in 2000.

  • Governors are both parties' presidential farm team. Four of the last five presidents have been governors. The most viable candidates for president and vice president are those from states with lots of electoral votes.
The article notes that Ed Rendell (PA) and Bill Richardson (NM) are presidential material. So would Michigan's Jennifer Granholm if she hadn't been born in Canada.

Now, the article follows journalistic tradition by underselling the potential Democratic gains next week (they only list 6 potential pickups, while the number is closer to 12-13). But the gist is valid -- Dems will be gaining the governorship of some of the union's most populous states, and will only surrender one or two small states in return (NH and maybe Alabama).

And as a result, the Democratic Party will be well-positioned to shape the national agenda for years to come. There's no doubt, amidst this Bush malaise, that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Posted October 29, 2002 08:08 AM | Comments (24)


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